My dog Brandy, is going to be 14 in August. To look at her, she looks really good; not nearly her age -- even the grey fur has bleached out over the years and is more white, so she almost looks younger now than she did two years ago or so.
But she is now completely deaf.
My poor chickie.
I knew her hearing was going; I could tell because she'd startle easy if she wasn't looking at you - and she was slower to respond to my whistle when out at night, or if I was calling her in the house. Her bark became louder, probably because she thought we couldn't hear her since she probably can't hear herself. She'd still respond to me at times. But I could tell it was getting worse.
The definitive moment for me that she is now completely hard of hearing, was last week. We had a showing at the house and I was on the second floor. Typically if someone even came to the front of the house on the street she'd bark - let alone if they came to the porch. I heard the doorbell ring....and no Brandy barking like an attack dog. I went downstairs and before I opened the door, I saw her sitting on the sofa in the den, looking out a window that didn't face the front of the house. She had no clue that I was in the room - or that I had strangers in the house. When I got her attention, she noticed the people and of course - went into protective mode, until I made her realize it was okay that they were there.
I was thinking about it this morning and I wonder if she misses hearing my voice? I wonder if she misses the sound of the kids laughing (or fighting, as it usually is....), does she notice that she can't hear the cats creep up on her or the sound of her food falling into the bowl. And then I wonder if she's feeling more lonely during the times we're gone as a result of the quiet. Sometimes, I hear her cry when she thinks we've left and she's alone in the den -- because she can't hear that we're still home.
I have always believed that animals have complex emotions; and it makes me sad to think that Brandy's life is that much duller now. I know it could be worse, and she could be sick - and I'm thankful that she's healthy otherwise. But it still makes me so sad to think that she might feel alone, really alone now that her world is quiet.